By Cindy O. Herman
For The Daily Item
Oh, how we laughed at our new friends when we moved from the coal mining regions to rural Mifflinburg, where smart-alecky kids are lippy, icy roads are slippy, and over-easy eggs are dippy.
It got confusing sometimes. An elderly neighbor kept telling us about her son, Dunny. Unusual name, we thought, but unusual names are really not all that uncommon, are they? Yes, Dunny worked several ahrers a day. To burn his weeds and dead flahrers he started a small feyher. He sawl on the news that we’ll be getting rain shahrers soon.
We had to listen closely, but eventually we figured it out. If our kind neighbor had been in Ed McMahon’s shoes, the famous introduction would have been, “And now, herrrrre’s Chunny!” My sisters and I still laugh at our “Dutchified” boss from a summer job who taught us some really useful painting tips that have helped us in painting our own homes. But he had us in stitches when he talked about his car breaking down “five mile down the road.” For some reason, Pennsylvania Dutch speakers just cannot add an ‘s’ to some words.
Thus, they drive truck; they buy five gallon of gas and two quart of oil and 10 pound of sand and trudge five mile down the road to try to dig their car out of the snow. “Youse guys say the funniest things,” we say to our Dutch friends, using coal-cracker slang. To which they reply, “Youns are the ones who talk funny.” To which our Southern brothers-in-law just shake their heads and say, “Y’all know you Pennsylvanians don’t make any sense at all.”